College Football Star Spencer Webb Dies Aged 22 In Freak Accident
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A 22-year-old American football player has passed away following a freak accident near his university in Oregon.
Spencer Webb was in the middle of preparing for his fifth-year junior season playing as a tight end for Oregon University when he passed away on Wednesday (13 July).
Deputies with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office were called to the scene at Triangle Lake near Eugene, where the university is located, at approximately 2:30pm local time on Wednesday to reports of an injured person.
The 22-year-old man, since identified as Webb, was found 'approximately 100 yards down a steep trail', according to the sheriff's office, which explained search and rescue personnel responded to bring Webb back to the roadway.
Webb is said to have suffered a fatal head injury during a cliff-diving accident, after which bystanders and paramedics were unable to revive him. The area where Webb was found features large slabs of rock which form natural slides connecting to a deeper section of water popular for swimming.
The footballer had played in 29 career games, achieving 31 catches for 296 yards and four touchdowns. He was a projected starter for the University of Oregon's upcoming season, and his death has prompted numerous tributes and messages from both fans and those who knew him.
Dan Lanning, football coach for Oregon, wrote on Twitter: "So full of life in every moment of the day. Your smile and energy will be missed Spencer. I love you!"
🙏 So full of life in every moment of the day. Your smile and energy will be missed Spencer. I love you!— Dan Lanning (@CoachDanLanning) July 14, 2022
Another tribute to the 22-year-old reads: "Heartbroken to hear about Spencer Webb. He seemed like an amazing person and loved by all. It’s #GoDucks tonight - there are few things as difficult as losing a teammate. Many prayers being sent to his friends and family."
Terrance Leonard, a longtime coach in Sacramento and friend of Webb and his family, told the Sacramento Bee Webb's death was 'a big loss for everybody'.
"[It's] just truly unbelievable,” Leonard continued. “Spence was like a son to me. He played with great energy. He was such a nice kid. He had a great personality.”
Webb was raised by his aunt, uncle and grandparents in Solano County or West Sacramento before his older brother, Cody, became his legal guardian and continued to raise him along with his wife, Alicia.
An amazing photo and memory of Spencer Webb. I was at this game. He brought joy to so many people. pic.twitter.com/ilFnebkdC2— Cameron Derby (@CamDerbyTV) July 14, 2022
Leonard told the Bee Cody did a 'great job' raising his brother, saying: "He gave him his all. Spencer played ball, became a good student and just kept working. Everyone was so proud of him.”
Officers currently consider the incident to be accidental, though an investigation is ongoing.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.